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Diamond Waste, Inc. v. Monroe County

ELR Citation: 22 ELR 21433
Nos. No. 91-379-2-MAC (WDO), 792 F. Supp. 812/(M.D. Ga., 05/12/1992) Preliminary injunction granted

The court holds that a landfill operator is entitled to a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of a county ordinance that regulates the transport of out-of-county waste into the county, and the operator may proceed on procedural and substantive due process claims against the county. The court initially holds that the landfill operator has standing to sue, because its ability to operate is within the zone of interests protected by the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The court next holds that the county ordinance's ban on the importation of waste does not facially violate the Commerce Clause. Turning to the operator's motion for a preliminary injunction, the court holds that the operator has shown a likelihood of success on the merits at trial. The operator could show that the ordinance's effect on interstate commerce is more than incidental and that the ordinance is invalid under controlling precedent because it effectively bans out-of-county waste. The court next holds that the operator has made the requisite showing of irreparable harm resulting from business losses by presenting evidence that if the ordinance is enforced, the operator will lose customers and be unable to obtain new customers or perform its transport contract with out-of-county recycling facilities. The court holds that the operator's injury outweighs any possible harm the county will suffer by the grant of a preliminary injunction. The court further holds that although the public has legitimate interests in preserving landfill space and protecting the environment and county roads, imposition of a preliminary injunction until the merits of the case are decided will not adversely affect those interests. Finally, the court holds that the landfill operator's substantive and procedural due process claims are ripe for decision. The court holds that the county's failure to give adequate notice does not meet the standard of procedural due process, and the ordinance deprives the operator of a protected property interest sufficient to raise a substantive due process claim.

[Previous decisions in this case are published at 20 ELR 20716 and 21 ELR 21411.]

Counsel for Plaintiff
Linwood Robert Lovett
Smith, Hawkins, Almand & Hollingsworth
230 Third St., P.O. Box 6495, Macon GA 31208
(912) 743-4436

Counsel for Defendants
Frederick L. Wright II
Smith, Currie & Hancock
2600 Peachtree Ctr., Harris Tower, 233 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta GA 30303-1530
(404) 521-3800